- Skin allergy
Conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis cause lesions or damage to sections of the skin. Depending on where the lesions appear they may have significant impact on quality of life or mental health. Acne is more common in teenagers due to shifting hormone levels but can happen in some adults. Excessive male hormones (androgens) increase production of oil which is eaten by bacteria. The bacteria grow inside the pore and create a lump which people see as a pimple. Eczema and psoriasis are considered genetic disorders where the skin is made improperly. In eczema the skin is unable to retain water properly and in psoriasis the skin grows too quickly and flakes off. Both conditions cause a lot of redness, itching and discomfort which encourages scratching causing further damage.
For acne, conventional doctors can prescribe topical antibiotics to kill the bacteria, give vitamin A analogues to encourage growth of new skin or hormonal therapy in females showing signs of excess androgens. Patients with eczema are encouraged to constantly moisturize and can be given topical corticosteroids to reduce the redness and inflammation. However long term use of corticosteroids can thin the skin and cause unwanted side effects. Psoriasis is treated by topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues and in more severe cases light therapy.
As an alternative to antibiotics naturopathic doctors can prescribe compounded niacin or green tea extract gel to help eradicate the bacteria and encourage healthy skin growth. Other topical options include burdock or avena sativa based creams and aloe jelly. In patients with hormonally driven acne they can assess if their body is eliminating hormones efficiently and prescribe herbs such as vitex to assist. With eczema and psoriasis there may be food or lifestyle triggers that cause flare ups. Naturopathic doctors can go over these potential triggers (food, environment, stress management) thoroughly and educate on the importance of finding and eliminating them. For treatment they can prescribe vitamin D, certain strains of probiotics and healthy oils (omega 3, GLA, etc).